Should You Worry about These Errors? Part 3

Today I’m going to comment on five more errors discussed in a provocative post called “17 Grammatical Errors You Need to Stop Correcting” by Bill Murphy Jr.

11. Oxford commas
This is the rule about using a comma before the last item in a list: “red, white, and pink roses.” That comma is optional. (I like it, but I never insisted that my students use it.)
Murphy says, “
Believe it or not, there are people who get really worked up about this rule. Don’t be one of them.” He’s right, and I’m applauding.

12. I.E. versus E.G.
Murphy explains that i.e. means “that is,” and e.g. means “for example.” He urges his readers not to criticize writers who get those Latin abbreviations confused.
My position is different – and simple: Don’t use them. Ever. “That is” and “for example” are perfectly respectable English phrases.

13. Split infinitives
Murphy is talking about expressions like “to boldly go,” which used to be considered bad grammar. He suggests being tolerant when other writers use them.  Once again I’m taking a stronger position: It’s a stupid rule. Ignore it.

14. Incomplete comparisons
Murphy is bothered by sentences like this one: “Our company’s products are better, cheaper, and more efficient.” Better than what?
I’m not bothered by these sentences at all. I don’t think we need to be that picky.

15. Into versus in to
There is so much gobbledygook in Murphy’s explanation that I stopped reading. (Does he really need to talk about transitive verbs?)
Here’s my take on in and into: I think about walking in a room (walking around it) and walking into a room (entering from the hall). If you understand the difference, that’s all you need to know!

In the last post in this series, I’ll be talking about Murphy’s final two errors – and grammar in general.

Referee blowing a whistle


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